From the quietly ambitious 4-CD box set debut, Annals of My Glass House (2011), through the expansive territory of A Slight Departure (2015), to the masterful new album, Signs and Wonders (2018), Birdsong At Morning has garnered rave reviews and airplay around the world.
Led by singer/songwriter Alan Williams, along with compatriots Darleen Wilson (guitar) and Greg Porter (bass), and a host of new and old collaborators, Birdsong At Morning spins elegant tapestries of sound, words, and music.
Based in Lowell, Massachusetts, birthplace of Jack Kerouac, Bette Davis, and the American industrial revolution, the band Birdsong At Morning is part of a growing community of artists and musicians, inspired by heritage and the spirit of renewal evidenced all around them, and prominently on display in many of the band’s videos. Thought-provoking and soul-baring, their music reflects the solid foundation of the still standing brickwork, and the warmth of the beating hearts within.
Formed in 2008, the band began as an exercise in resurrecting long dormant musical energies. Williams and Porter had gone to the New England Conservatory of Music, then played together in several groups, notably the star-crossed folk-rock ensemble, Knots and Crosses. Porter was a founding member of Talking To Animals, before playing for Aimee Mann and Patty Griffin, among others. Wilson established herself as a groundbreaking recording engineer in Boston, working with a broad spectrum of artists from punk (Salem 66), to pop (New Kids On The Block), before becoming the pre-eminent producer of New England singer/songwriters – Bill Morrissey, Patty Larkin, Catie Curtis, Chris Smither.
During the long period between the demise of Knots and Crosses—a demise precipitated by their calamitous signing with Island Records—and the formation of Birdsong At Morning, Williams embarked on parallel careers in music production and academia. He served as musical director for Dar Williams and engineered a number of records for Patty Larkin, while earning a PhD in Ethnomusicology from Brown University. He is currently Chair of the Department of Music at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he also serves as the Richard and Nancy Donahue Endowed Professor of the Arts, and has published a number of scholarly chapters and journal articles, all while maintaining a presence as a creative, performing musician. In his spare time, he is also a certified yoga instructor.
The depth of experience present in every aspect of the band’s work helps to explain the professional quality that exists in this totally DIY project. The band releases its own records, designs its packaging, and does much of the engineering and musical production work. Of course, like many indie-minded endeavors, Birdsong At Morning is assisted by extraordinarily talented friends – long-time collaborative partner Ben Wittman (Paula Cole, Laurie Anderson, The Story) plays drums, Greg’s Talking to Animals compatriot Thomas Juliano frequently contributes guitar, and the band’s last two albums were recorded with David Minehan (The Neighborhoods, Paul Westerburg, Aerosmith) at his studio, Woolly Mammoth Sound, and mastered by Grammy award winning engineer, Adam Ayan.